South Korea is taking action against North Korea’s illicit funding of weapons programs through crypto and virtual assets. The government of South Korea is gearing up to introduce a comprehensive bill aimed at tracking and freezing North Korean crypto assets. This is according to a local report.

The Genesis of the Bill

Notably, the groundwork for this groundbreaking bill was revealed through various government sources. Anonymous officials have also confirmed that the bill is in the pipeline, emphasizing the president’s strong belief in the necessity to fortify the country’s cybersecurity framework.

What sets this bill apart is its ability to “track and neutralize” crypto and virtual assets stolen by North Korea. This feature wasn’t part of the initial bill proposed by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in November 2022, making it a significant update.

Establishing a National Cybersecurity Committee

North Korean crypto

In addition to the cybersecurity bill, South Korea is also planning to establish a national cybersecurity committee. This committee will operate under the direct control of the president and will play a pivotal role in bolstering the country’s defense mechanisms against foreign hacking attempts. The committee will be led by the National Security Office’s chief and will include the NIS director.

The Scale of the Problem and International Efforts

Furthermore, North Korean hackers have been relentless in their pursuit of digital assets. Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs estimates that they have siphoned off a staggering $2 billion through cyberattacks since 2018. Shockingly, in 2023 alone, North Korea is responsible for pilfering $200 million in crypto, constituting 20% of all stolen funds this year.

However, South Korea isn’t alone in its endeavors. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also on the trail of North Korean state-backed hackers. Recently, the FBI identified six Bitcoin wallets linked to the notorious North Korean hacking group Lazarus. These wallets contained 1,580 Bitcoins, valued at around $40 million, believed to be the proceeds of various hacks.

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